Being involved in a delivery truck accident versus a car accident are usually very different experiences, both while experiencing the crash itself as well as dealing with everything that follows. The general reasons for those differences are related to the usual large variances in the sizes of the vehicles that are involved and there usually being several entities participating in the legal process.
Unfortunately, the number of crashes featuring commercial motor vehicles in Harris County in 2022 was 6,203, coming to an average of 17 a day. Forty-seven of those, nearly one a week, resulted in fatalities.
What Makes These Types of Accidents Generally More Impactful and Likely?
Delivery trucks usually being larger than the other vehicle that has been involved in a crash not only tends to result in more damage to that other vehicle and injuries suffered by those in it, but it often also results in more accidents taking place.
For example, delivery trucks tend to take longer to stop once the driver has realized that an accident is imminent and commences attempting to avoid it. This factor is multiplied if the products that are being delivered are particularly heavy. Also note that it is more difficult to maneuver these types of vehicles around a dangerous situation as contrasted with a passenger car.
Delivery trucks are also more likely to be involved in rollovers, t-bone collisions and, if a semi-truck or big rig is involved, jackknife accidents. These vehicles generally have significant blind spots as well, which increases the likelihood of a crash, particularly when the driver is backing up.
If a delivery truck is transporting hazardous materials, that is another element that can exacerbate a delivery truck-car accident as well as impact other drivers who are coming upon a spill or similar situation.
In some cases, delivery drivers may drive in a reckless manner in an attempt to meet unrealistic timing guidelines or may operate their vehicle while sleep-deprived, which affects the mind similar to drunk driving. Also, if it is a delivery truck that is being operated with a focus on dropping off numerous packages in a short time period, it may be stopped multiple times, often unexpectedly, both factors that can increase the likelihood of an accident.
Another contributing factor to consider is cargo that had been loaded onto the delivery truck in an unsafe manner. This mistake can increase the likelihood of a crash and enhance the severity of it if it does.
More Catastrophic Injuries and Other Damages
Delivery truck accidents tend to result in a greater number of catastrophic injuries and other types of damages as compared to car accidents. Examples of the former include brain, back, neck and internal injuries as well as broken bones and loss of limbs.
Medical costs can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars, and injuries can result in a temporary loss of wages while those involved recover from them or even a permanent loss of earning capacity, depending on their severity. A recovery can last years or even require lifelong maintenance. Other effects are often mental in nature, sometimes resulting in victims suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Death is a possibility as well.
Entities That May Be Involved in Delivery Truck Accidents From a Legal Perspective
Another major difference between delivery truck accidents and car accidents is the number of entities that are usually involved with the former. This is because the delivery truck driver is often connected with a number of organizations as well as numerous regulations that should be followed. Also of note, those entities on a delivery truck driver’s side often include insurance companies known for being particularly aggressive in ensuring that they pay out as minimally as possible.
Also consider other organizations that could be held responsible as well. For example, perhaps equipment failure played a role in the collision. In that case, the manufacturer or someone who had improperly worked on it may be at fault. Poor maintenance of the vehicle may be a contributing factor as well.
However, a truck operator generally having several entities on their side does usually mean that the party responsible for the other vehicle will have more compensation available to them if they were not at fault for what happened.
That being said, in some cases, those entities may all start pointing fingers at each other, all denying liability and blaming others for what went wrong, resulting in none paying up without a significant amount of legal pressure.
An additional possibility is the local government being at fault, such as because of a defect in the road.
All of this is contrasted with a car crash, which usually involves a much simpler legal process, often necessitating working with one insurance company for one driver and another for the other.
Contact With Insurance Companies
Because of various organizations often being involved in this type of incident, you may be contacted by a number of them soon after the crash occurred. Sometimes, this even occurs on the same day.
You always want to tell them the minimal amount of information possible, or simply do not talk to them at all and have your lawyer communicate with them. This is primarily because they tend to have their own interests in mind, such as taking advantage of your mental state at that time and lowballing you.
If you do speak with an insurance company yourself, information that you should provide includes that you were in an accident and that a delivery driver was involved.
With that said, do ensure that your insurance company is contacted by you or your lawyer soon after your crash to ensure that you meet all relevant timelines.
In many cases, delivery truck drivers are employees of the company that owns the product that is being delivered, the truck being driven or both. In other cases, they may be independent contractors who are also paid by the people owning the goods being transported or the truck but under different legal circumstances.
Regardless, all of these companies need to follow applicable federal, state and local regulations. Those rules are more stringent when the driver is a direct employee of the company, but they also exist when that individual is working independently.
Depending on those regulations, the organizations may need to perform background checks on their drivers, drug test them, train them on how to safely operate their vehicles and perform regular evaluations of their work, including as it relates to safety. If they have not done what was required of them from a legal standpoint and that is connected with a delivery truck crash, they can be held liable for it.
Conversely, if the driver ignored regulations, such as driving for too many hours, then who is to blame becomes less clear, but our knowledgeable lawyers will sift through everything and determine what is the best action to take in order to get you fairly compensated for what happened. For example, perhaps the company had illegal expectations of its drivers, resulting in a sleep-deprived one causing a collision.
If a driver failed to do any required pre-trip inspections, that is another factor that could place them or, depending on extenuating circumstances, their company at fault.
What Happens Next?
Depending on the exact circumstances of your situation, such as how many entities are involved and the degree that they are, we may file numerous claims in relation to your crash as we look to get you fairly compensated.
The people and organizations that could be involved in a delivery truck collision include you, the other driver, anybody else impacted by what happened, witnesses, companies that own the delivery truck or product and that pay the driver, relevant insurance companies, medical personnel, auto repair mechanics and police officers on scene.
Speak With PM Law Firm About Your Delivery Truck Accident
If you have been a victim of a delivery truck crash, contact PM Law Firm for a consultation. Every attorney who works for us is trained and experienced with these types of cases and knowledgeable about all of the elements of them that make them so different from car crash cases. We also know how to get the best settlement for you, whether that is best done through mediation, arbitration, negotiations or a trial.
Our focus is on handling these types of cases so that you can leave the work to us and focus on your life, which is particularly important if you have been badly hurt as a result of your crash. We will communicate with all the relevant parties, including insurance companies, and our expertise with Texas law will help you receive fair compensation for what happened and not feel obligated to accept an inadequate offer.
To contact us, reach out through our website or give us a call at 281-968-9529. We are located in Humble, TX and serve those located here and in areas that surround our city.